Legendary siren of Rhine / WED 8-10-11 / Coach Ewbank who led Jets to Super Bowl / Certain fraternity man informally / Surrender of * Diego Velazquez
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: FIVE IRONS (59A: Fairway clubs ... or a hint to the starts of the answers to 17-, 24- and 45-Across and 10- and 37-Down) — first words of all five theme answers can precede "IRON" in a common phrase
Word of the Day: MINGO (16A: Iroquoian people) —
The Mingo are an Iroquoian group of Native Americans made up of peoples who migrated west to the Ohio Country in the mid-eighteenth century. Anglo-Americans called these migrants mingos, a corruption of mingwe, an Eastern Algonquian name for Iroquoian-language groups in general. Mingos have also been called "Ohio Iroquois" and "Ohio Seneca". Most migrated to Kansas and later Oklahoma under Indian Removal programs. The federally recognized descendants of today reorganized in 1937 as the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma. (wikipedia)
Weird puzzle. On the one hand, a straight-over-the-plate "first words can precede X"-type puzzle, with an interesting reveal. On the other hand, BREDA (60A: "The Surrender of ___" (Diego Velázquez painting)). Also MINGO. Also WEEB (though I've definitely seen WEEB before in puzzles) (1A: Coach Ewbank who led the Jets to a Super Bowl championship). Also SIG (43A: Certain fraternity man, informally). Just a lot of really odd stuff that wouldn't come even with crosses (well, I mean, obviously it came, but I had to drag it). BREDA is pure outer-space material. It's a place name? A place in ... hmmm, Iowa ... but I'm guessing this BREDA is in The Netherlands. I've never seen or heard of this place. That "R" was a complete and utter and out-and-out guess (BURL seeming like a vaguely familiar word, albeit one I'd never use) (51D: Small knot). The fact that MINGO and BREDA are symmetrical makes me think I'm being taunted. My reaction to MINGO was "that sounds like the name of some wacky sidekick-type character, like BALKY on "Perfect Strangers" or something." Turns out, I was right—he's the "half-Cherokee" character on the "Daniel Boone" TV series of the 1960s. MINGO was played by ED AMES (of crossword grid fame). Anyway, I had no idea MINGO had any legitimate Native American validity. And now I do. At least I remembered how to spell LORELEI correctly this time (35D: Legendary siren of the Rhine).
Not much to say about the theme. It's fine. I like SOMBRERO (20A: A Mexican might sleep under it), LOVERBOY (53A: Beau), and MRS. PEEL better than I like any of the theme answers, though. Got thrown by singular SCRAP PAPER as answer to plural [Sheets...] and, as usual, by compound answer TVAD (didn't have "V," wanted one word, of course) (29A: 30- or 60-second spot). This town isn't big enough for both ADEE and AROO. ASE is among the worst three-letter fill in existence (22A: "Peer Gynt" mother).
- 17A: Place for a sweater? (STEAM ROOM)
- 24A: Sheets for scribbling (SCRAP PAPER)
- 45A: Ice cream holder (WAFFLE CONE)
- 10D: Playground lingo (PIG LATIN) — whereas [Mingo lingo] would be ... what? Iroquoian?
- 37D: Fizzless drink (FLAT SODA)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld